We decided to put Mack and Flow together last week. Its been 3 months since they last bred and Flow seems to have had a good rest. The exact date was 22nd of June, so that should give us a kindling date of around the 20th of July. We might try them one more time before the winter, we will see how she is.
Becs and I have been thinking about what we might do in the next cycle of animals. Its been great to have a go at everything this first year, and we will happily keep all of our animals into their retirement, but realistically speaking after the first 5 years we will be in a position to have a change. Rabbits are only really fertile for the first 3-4 years of their life, so I think Mack and Flow would become pets after that. My experience of chickens is that 5 years is a pretty long life and they defo don’t lay eggs after that. Muscovys and geese are much longer lived. Geese can live for 20 years (although I think this is uncommon) and Muscovys can live for 10 plus.
My thoughts are that we may not continue with Rabbits, as although they are very productive, they are a pain when they are growing as they escape a lot! I don;t like the idea of raising them in small hutches, so ours always have a large outdoor run. Also I feel the same about chickens, they are very productive in terms of eggs, but we can’t keep a cockrill, so we can’t breed them and they are so susceptible to mites etc. Muscov ducks are so hardy, I love them to bits and will always keep them, the geese are here for the long haul, and the sheep are brilliant and practically no work.
Becky has different views on this, but my view of the 2015 farm would be;
More Soay sheep
More Muscovy ducks and maybe a few female Karki cambells for eggs
and our Geese.
I would stop selling eggs, and just have enough birds to keep us in eggs. I would run the Muscovy and the geese in together and the Soays in a seperate pasture. We would hopefully have bees my then as well.
Anyway its along way off, but that is my thinking at the moment.
Not doing very well so far with brewing anything this year, seem to have had other things to do. Would like to try this though at some point http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/jun/22/how-to-make-strawberry-wine
if our crops continue and I remember to actually do it!
I can’t quite get my head around this http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jun/20/artificial-meat-emissions#start-of-comments
I’m all for cutting emissions etc, but is this really the way to do it? I agree with some of the comments already posted – surely no one would eat this instead of going vege?
So excited, I have ordered myself a spinning wheel. I have gone for an Ashford Joy Wheel, which are just lovely. (I have splashed out as I recently sold my little Taylor guitar as it has been gathering dust. My dad is doing up a 3/4 spanish guitar for me just to keep my hand in, but I really don’t need a guitar as good as a Taylor for playing every now and again). Anyway, the spinning wheel should arrive this week. I bid on ebay for some sheep fleeces which are a lovely grey colour, I paid £1 for 6 bin bags full, which was a bit of a bargain. I am going to spin enough wool to make Becs a jumper as a thankyou for putting up with my incessant spinning wheel talk for the last three weeks.
Can’t wait for it to arrive.
I spent the day on the plot yesterday doing bits and pieces in between the torrential rain showers (whippet made happy with new pillow in her polytunnel bed) and the only soles i saw were Paul the Owl Man and his buddy Daz who turned up to check the Little Owl chick situation. I had been listening for screeching chicks for a couple of weeks now but only started hearing them during the last week and yesterday too, so i was confident something was happening.
Ladders were soon up the tree and their flexible wireless camera was investigating the main hole. However, norhing obvious except one adult bird (amazing to see on a little screen that close up, like Springwatch but better). The cavern in the main hole is big and has a couple of holes off it going up into the tree. Paul and Daz could both reach the bird but couldn’t identify aby thing else in there. There are a couple of other holes around the tree so the ladder was moved round accordingly untl finally the smallest and most difficult hole to get to was reached. Daz was first up and the camera immediately identified an owlet. After some poking around it was clear that there were 3! Yay, so pleased they have been successful this year! They are quite big and almost ready to fledge. Z and I both got up the ladders to have a look ourselves and you can see them without the camera when the camera light is facing them.
I took the opportunity to go and get my bushcam and have strapped it to a branch very close to the hole on a video setting. It’s wedged by a bit of stick to get the angle right so hopefully if it doesn’t move we should get some video. I had tried to get owl video before but obviously had it facing the wrong hole, duh. When you get up there the stink and the poo all over the branches is enough to give it away! Will know for next year…
The 3rd set of bunnies were all dispatched by the end of yesterday. We had done a couple of small batches during the week and left the final 6 of the 11 for yesterday. They had a lovely last half an hour or so having escaped from their run and free ranged accross the pasture (not for the first time with this particularly naughty bunch).
Mack and Flo have now been shifted over into the chicken area and the rabbit/runner area has been opened up to the sheep.
I made an executive decision with Lucy when she came off her nest and took away the remaining 2 eggs as they were really going nowhere. She wasn’t happy but seemed more intent on chasing Orville around than anything else. After clearing the nest and moving the shelters around we now have the geese with goslings in with the growing muscovies and the runners.
Orlando, vita and virginia are in the area under the tree with the chickens.
Wow the strawberries plants have been chucking out fruit for about two weeks now and they seem to be coming to an amazing climax. We have enough for strawberries everyday and I am trying to freeze some for use in porrige over the winter. The rasberries will be joining them any day soon.